2019 Audi Q5 vs. 2018 BMW X5

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Q5’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The X5 doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Audi Q5 are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The BMW X5 doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

Both the Q5 and X5 have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Q5 has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The X5’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

The Q5 has standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The X5 doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the Q5. But it costs extra on the X5.

To help make backing safer, the Q5’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The X5 doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the Q5 and the X5 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Audi Q5 is safer than the BMW X5:

 

Q5

X5

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

22%

30.2%

Neck Stress

215 lbs.

305 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

80/49 lbs.

195/471 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

187

230

Neck Stress

134 lbs.

155 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

90/55 lbs.

470/286 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH, results indicate that the Audi Q5 is safer than the BMW X5:

 

Q5

X5

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Abdominal Force

98 G’s

143 G’s

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and its standard front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Q5 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 139 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The X5 has not been fully tested, yet.

Reliability

The Audi Q5’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the X5’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 1 place higher in reliability than BMW.

Engine

As tested in Consumer Reports the Audi Q5 is faster than the X5 s/xDrive35i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.:

 

Q5

X5

Zero to 30 MPH

2.7 sec

3.1 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

6.8 sec

7.4 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

4.6 sec

5 sec

Quarter Mile

15.4 sec

15.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

94 MPH

93.6 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Q5 Auto gets better fuel mileage than the X5 s/xDrive35i xDrive (22 city/27 hwy vs. 18 city/24 hwy).

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Audi Q5 uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The X5 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Transmission

The Q5 offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The X5 doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Q5’s standard brake rotors are larger than those on the X5:

 

Q5

X5

Front Rotors

13.3 inches

13.1 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

12.6 inches

The Q5 stops much shorter than the X5:

 

Q5

X5

 

70 to 0 MPH

161 feet

178 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

130 feet

137 feet

Consumer Reports

Suspension and Handling

The Q5 Premium Plus handles at .81 G’s, while the X5 xDrive35i pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Q5’s turning circle is 3.3 feet tighter than the X5’s (38.4 feet vs. 41.7 feet).

Chassis

The Audi Q5 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 600 to 1050 pounds less than the BMW X5.

The Q5 is 9.6 inches shorter than the X5, making the Q5 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The design of the Audi Q5 amounts to more than styling. The Q5 has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .32 Cd. That is lower than the X5 (.32 to .34) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Q5 get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

The Q5 has 1.9 inches more front headroom, .6 inches more front legroom, 1 inch more rear headroom and 1.2 inches more rear legroom than the X5.

Cargo Capacity

The Q5 has a much larger cargo volume than the X5 with its rear seat up (25.1 vs. 12 cubic feet).

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Q5’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The X5 doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

The Q5’s liftgate lifts up in one piece, completely out of the way of loading and unloading, while sheltering the cargo loading area. The X5’s tailgate’s top part raises up, but the bottom part lowers, getting in the way of loading and making an uneven surface for sliding cargo.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Q5’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The X5 doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its tailgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than BMW. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 14% lower rating, BMW is ranked 8th.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Q5 owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Q5 will cost $180 to $2340 less than the X5 over a five-year period.

The Q5 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Q5 will retain 52.7% to 53.4% of its original price after five years, while the X5 only retains 44.34% to 47.99%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Q5 is less expensive to operate than the X5 because it costs $81 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Q5 than the X5, including $55 less for a water pump, $1166 less for a muffler, $50 less for front brake pads, $71 less for fuel injection, $32 less for a fuel pump, $137 less for front struts, $1027 less for a timing belt/chain and $1601 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Audi Q5 will be $14291 to $24831 less than for the BMW X5.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Audi Q5 and the BMW X5, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Audi Q5 outsold the BMW X5 by 43% during the 2018 model year.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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